accretion disk

noun

Definition of accretion disk

: a disk of usually gaseous matter surrounding a massive celestial object (such as a black hole) in which the matter gradually spirals in toward and accretes onto the object as a result of gravitational attraction

Examples of accretion disk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There's clearly a lot left to learn about black holes and their accretion disks. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "For the First Time, See the Mysterious Disks That Circle Black Holes," 10 June 2019 Because of this, any change in the accretion disk will later be echoed within the torus. Quanta Magazine, "Galactic Beacons Get Snuffed Out in a Cosmic Eyeblink," 21 Nov. 2018 This image is a quite accurate depiction of what scientists think a black hole with an accretion disk of hot gas and dust around it might look like. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "Drawing the Invisible: The Many Ways Artists Have Imagined Black Holes," 9 Apr. 2019 Two planets, PDS 70b and PDS 70c, are orbiting the star, sucking up material and creating a gap in the accretion disk between 1.9 and 3.8 billion miles wide. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Astronomers Snap a Rare Picture of Two Baby Planets," 7 June 2019 As the material from the accretion disk falls into the black hole, jets of energy form along the axis of the merger. Quanta Magazine, "After Black Holes Collide, a Puzzling Flash," 2 Mar. 2016 Scientists have typically detected them through incredibly bright lights surrounding them, emanating from a black hole's accretion disk. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How They Got the Black Hole Picture That Changed Science," 10 Apr. 2019 But never before has a third, massive accretion disk orbiting the entire system been discovered. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "A Triple Solar System, Stacked On Top of Itself, Is Forming in our Galaxy," 11 Oct. 2016 This build up of matter on the edge of black holes are known as accretion disks. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Supermassive Black Hole Spotted Sucking in Gas at a Third of Light Speed," 21 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accretion disk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of accretion disk

1972, in the meaning defined above

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2 Aug 2019

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The first known use of accretion disk was in 1972

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